Pentagon Accused of Organizing Shiite Torture Squads
Witnesses put key US military personnel at torture sites
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2013 1:44 PM CST
Iraqi prisoners are seen at al-Muthanna prison in Baghdad, Iraq, May 2, 2010.   (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

(Newser) – The Pentagon directly oversaw the creation of a Shiite militia force that set up secret detention sites and tortured opponents during the US occupation of Iraq, as part of American attempts to put down the budding Sunni insurgency, according to a new report by the Guardian that is being called "staggering." Colonel James Steele, a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran of "dirty wars" campaigns in Central America, was chosen by Donald Rumsfeld to organize the paramilitary forces. A second adviser, retired Colonel James H. Coffman, worked closely with Steele and reported directly to David Petraeus.

"They knew everything that was going on there ... the torture, the most horrible kinds of torture," says General Muntadher al-Samari, who spent a year working with Steele and Coffman while the Shiite militias were being organized. The allegations are backed up by several others, including journalists who say they were with Steele when torture was being performed nearby. Steele and Coffman had no comment on the charges, while a spokesman for Petraeus said the general always reported incidents of torture he discovered. Full investigation here.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Pentagon Accused of Organizing Shiite Torture Squads is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 24 comments
Mar 7, 2013 4:12 AM CST
lindsey graham spent his congressional time expounding the benefits of domestic drone attacks on americans yesterday in the senate
Mar 7, 2013 12:22 AM CST
America's fascist, bankrupt, collapsing global military empire is now poised to beat YOU to death in NDAA detention...morons! You don't know what PNAC 1997 is... you don't know what NDAA should hide in your bathrooms with your GUNS AND AMMO, PLAYBOY distractions and JO!
Mar 6, 2013 7:09 PM CST
Why is Rumsfeld walking free? Where are the war crimes trials? Oh yeah, they're AMERICANS and we can't do that to nthem. Bullsh*t